Dr. Murray Sabrin, a former professor of finance and founder of Ramapo’s Sabrin Center for Free Enterprise, hosted a virtual talk called “Free Market Universal Health Care: ‘An Idea Whose Time Has Come”’ on Wednesday. He spoke about his new book, “Universal Medical Care From Conception To End of Life,” from his Florida home in Fort Myers.
“This is a needlessly challenging time, and that’s an understatement,” Sabrin said.
Sabrin spoke about health care in the past — before Covid — and health care during Covid in relation to private versus free market health care options.
The book was originally going to be titled “What Happened to the $5 Visit?” as a nod to how much it used to cost for a doctor’s visit during the 1950s when he was growing up. He said that in the past, a doctor’s visit was much more personal and affordable. Patients would have the time to sit down with their doctor, ask questions and pay a small out-of-pocket cost. It was a time, Sabrin noted, before insurance stepped in as a middleman in providing medical care.
Sabrin spoke about four components of universal health care that provide cheaper ways to receive medical care. Direct cash payment, for instance, allows patients to pay an out-of-pocket cost for a doctor’s visit. The second component is having a super medical savings account, where a family is responsible for their health care and investing — not insurance companies. The third relates to legal assistance. Sabrin emphasized that insurance companies are necessary to prevent major medical lawsuits, although he claimed they don’t happen very often. The fourth element is the non-profit sector providing medical care.
He discussed how non-profit medical groups, like St. Jude’s Children Hospital, provide cheaper and more personalized healthcare without insurance driving up prices or the government mandating certain standards.
“They’re all over the country, they’re growing, and people find them gratifying because they get results,” Sabrin reflected.
He stressed the idea that “Medicare is financially unstable,” and Medicaid is also on the track to financial collapse. He pointed out that private medical care limits how we can respond to situations and what treatment methods we can provide.
The “response to Covid was disappointing,” he said. “Instead of determining the most vulnerable groups, we used a one size fits all approach.”
Two major themes that Sabrin iterated from his book were the difference between medical care and health care as well as the importance of the doctor-patient relationship.
“We’ve conflated those two concepts, to much of our chagrin,” he said about the terms “medical care” and “health care.” According to him, health care is a personal responsibility and a reflection of how we take care of our own health.
The doctor-patient relationship, Sabrin notes, is “as sacred a relationship as marriage.” A certain level of trust is needed in that relationship for the patient to receive the care they need, but that is actively being lost to “assembly line medicine,” or an unproductive doctor’s visit.
The book is available for purchase at the bookstore and copies are also available at the library. It is priced at $17.95 and all royalties generated from sales at Ramapo will go directly to the Ramapo College Foundation.